The Reality Check portion of the Career Development process builds from a person's Self-Assessment. The purpose is to inform an individual on academic major and career choices. During this process you will gather information on employment trends, occupations, companies, and amount of education required. This information will facilitate decision making, and stimulate continued exploration allowing one to assess options and discover possible alternatives.
When contemplating a career or major, one of the first steps is to learn more about a field before selecting it as a final decision. Use resources to explore job qualifications, required education, job outlook, and compensation.
How much do you know about the occupation or major you are looking into? You can use an informational interview to gather first hand information that will assist you in your choice of academic major, occupational field, or employer.
You may wish to use the UST Career Development Center's group on LinkedIn to find professionals willing to participate in an informational interview.
Who is hiring and where? Answers to these questions can be found by looking up employers in online and print directories. Most large employers have websites that list employment opportunities.
When searching out organizations it is important to find one that will provide the right fit between who you are and who they are and what they do. Questions you may wish to find the answers to may involve company size, benefits, environment, and whether they are regional, national, or international. An important, but sometimes overlooked question to ask is, what exactly do they do?
Information gathered while researching companies can transfer into the interview stage if you show the interviewer your knowledge of the company.
Just as jobs that were hot five years ago may not be that hot today, jobs that are hot today may not be that hot in five years.
While it is difficult to predict various twist and turns the job market may take in the future, there are certain trends that make themselves apparent in the present. By making yourself aware of these trends, you are less likely to set yourself up for disappointment if the occupation you are interested in is in serious decline or amidst tough competition.
Not only dotrends show demands, they show information such as whether or not those employed in a certain field need more education (i.e. graduate degrees) than a few years ago.
You may need to start preparing for graduate school sooner than you realize. Giving yourself time to think through and apply yourself to the research and application process is crucial to having the graduate school experience work for you.
First, you must ask yourself if additional schooling will be beneficial to your career and self-interests. If you decide that graduate school fits into your goals you will need to research different schools and programs, prepare and take admission tests, organize your graduate school applications and, if necessary, write your academic resume.